Dr. Ania Grobicki, GWP Executive Secretary, writes from Brussels, attending the European Economic and Social Committee Civil Society Consultation: On the road to Rio–how should 27 voices speak with one voice?
While many speakers from the European trade unions and NGOs voiced their disillusionment with the financial crisis, the growing inequality gap, and the destruction of the planet since 1992, Brice Lalonde, the Executive Coordinator of the Rio+20 conference, struck an altogether more upbeat note. He made a few points which I paraphrase here:
We need to push governments to do more, to address the gaps: what still needs to be implemented from Rio in 1992?
What has remained the same? A focus on development as well as the environment, and a focus on institutions. The Rio process is unique because of its long-term generational perspective.
What has changed since 1992? The emergence of the BRICs, and millions lifted out of poverty. We now need to reduce the footprint of the richest billion. And we need a special nexus around water (my emphasis), a special focus over the next 15 years. This is one of the threads to pull which connects everything else in the green economy.
Brice concluded by saying that the Rio process represents a return of optimism, a return of engagement.